Traveling in Morocco, you are bound to trip across one of the most defining characteristics of the country – the Berbers. As the original inhabitants of Morocco, they are rightly proud of the contributions they have made in shaping the country. With a unique language and culture, the Berbers stand out as one of last bastions of tradition in an ever-modernizing society; while even the oldest villagers now happily chat on cell phones, they do so in a tongue almost impenetrable to anyone from the outside world.
Many travelers today associate Morocco with hashish (kif), but although the country’s production of the drug is centuries old, it was not until the early 1970s that Morocco became internationally recognized for it…
Riding a camel across the undulating dunes of the Moroccan Sahara is unquestionably the stuff that holiday memories are made of. Any element of discomfort will fade into the distance, along with the recollection of any aching muscles when you shake the sand out of your shoes and remember the sunsets…
When the LGBTQ+ communities were being persecuted in Europe, centers in Morocco like Tangier and Marrakesh were seen as safe spaces. Not only are they wonderful destinations in their own right, but the local populations have a sort of worldly ‘been there, seen that’ attitude of acceptance. In many ways, this remains true even today.
There are very few places on Earth that compare to the incredible landscapes you’ll see visiting the Sahara Desert. Running roughly north-south along Morocco’s eastern border with neighboring Algeria, the Sahara Desert is the world’s largest hot desert. In fact, the Sahara covers an area roughly the size of the entire United States. Many travelers visit Morocco specifically with the intention of venturing off into the desert and spending a night under the stars. And we can’t blame them! A desert adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on. (more…)
Morocco isn’t just winding souks and desert dunes: it’s also 1,200 miles of coastline running along the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Along the coast, charming harbors, busy fishing ports and picturesque beach towns abound – they’re just as diverse as Morocco’s interior. There are many Moroccan coastal towns waiting to be explored, most of which are completely off the radar destinations.
Aside from Agadir and its package holiday resorts, most of Morocco’s coastal towns actually remain largely untouched making them ideal for laid back travelers curious to get to know Morocco off the beaten path. From stress-free medinas to incredible mountain backdrops, our top 5 Moroccan coastal towns have it all. Take your pick and spend your Moroccan getaway taking easy strolls along the beach.
Take the road from Erfoud to Ouarzazate and you will find yourself driving along what is commonly known as the Road of One Thousand Kasbahs. You’ll catch a spectacular view of a vast valley dotted with small oases and hundreds of ancient fortifications. The sand-colored walls of the kasbahs may all start to look the same after a while, but don’t be fooled: they each hold a special historical treasure within.
Now, more than ever, it’s easy to stay connected with your loved ones back home while you’re traveling to Morocco. Sporting a very robust network, with 4g cellular capability in major cities as well as much of the countryside, you should have no problems using popular programs like WhatsApp and Facetime to keep in touch. And where 4g is unavailable, a surprisingly quick 3g connection is often found. (more…)
Moroccan culture is steeped in tradition. It permeates every facet of life, from the kitchen and dinner table to the street corner and school; even language holds to traditional mores. There are certain Moroccan phrases or sayings that come almost automatically to Moroccans. If you enter a room, a taxi or a shop, you must greet everyone with a rousing hello. Those around you will answer in turn. To do otherwise would simply be … wrong. (more…)
You’ve booked your ticket to Morocco, now you need to decide where to stay. After all, you’ll need a place to sleep, shower and relax between riding camels on the beach, shopping for handmade rugs and eating couscous on your holiday to Morocco. While there are a variety of chain hotels and luxury resorts available throughout the country, every visitor should strongly consider spending at least a few nights in a Moroccan Riad.
Although demoted from the position of Morocco’s capital city, there is little doubt that Morocco’s former capital, the city of Fez, remains one of the most important cities in the entire country. Fez was the capital of Morocco for over four centuries, and it still remains the cultural center of the country, as well as one of the most important religious centers. The city was founded in the late 8th century, and a large part of Fez remains a medieval city in design, a visual proof of the city’s history and culture.
Until 1925 Fez was the modern capital of Morocco and it retains its prestige as one of the most enchanting and enriching cities in the country. Home to the world’s largest car-free city center and the world’s oldest functioning university, it’s no surprise Fez is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-visit on tourist radars. Before you pack your bags and visit Fez, here are ten articles for you to read, get prepared, and make sure you get the most out of your visit to this ancient city. (more…)
By far, Eid al-Adha is the most important holiday for Muslims around the world. It occurs two lunar months after the end of Ramadan. Confusingly, Eid al-Adha called by many different names. Eid el-Kbir (often spelled “Eid el-Kbeer, “Aid al-Kébir” and other variations) is really common. It translates to “The Big Holiday”. With francophiles, la fête du mouton (“sheep festival”) is also common. (more…)
While many a tourist and traveler to Tangier spend their time immersed in the medina and navigating the kasbah – if fresh air and flora is your thing, there are some wonderful outdoor spaces to explore. One of these pockets of nature is Donabo Botanical Gardens, located in the forest conservation area of the same name.
Public baths are an integral part of life in Morocco. On any given day you might see a group of women gathering outside the neighborhood hammam, a small plastic stool and bucket in hand. The hammams in Morocco come with their own set of unspoken rules, which for outsiders can be more than a little confusing. Here are a few tips to help you be ready for your own Morocco hammam experience. (more…)
Morocco is unquestionably both a photographic destination and a great place to flex your walking and trekking muscles – Photographer Charley Tuffey decided to do both, and has shared with Journey Beyond Travel both the journey and the visual inspiration, along with some perfectly framed photos taken en-route during a recent visit that started in Marrakesh, then headed up into the mountains for lunch in the shadow of Mount Toubkal, included quad biking in the Agafay Desert before winding back down to the medina and markets of the Red City.
Morocco is a land of mountains, deserts, medieval cities, roman ruins and more than a few familiar movie locations. Thinking about Morocco and film undoubtedly conjures up images of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 American classic, Casablanca. Ironically none of Casablanca was filmed in Morocco, but many classics were, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew To Much, and Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky. More recently, not one but two James Bonds have been seen giving chase across the Tangier rooftops, while other hits like Gladiator, The Mummy and Game of Thrones were filmed on locations across the country.
The Ashura Festival in Morocco (often spelled: “achoura”) is truly a festival for kids… and kids at heart! Kids all get new toys, as well as the staple Darbuka (a goblet drum) and Berrada (a clay piggy bank). Kids go from playing music and eating healthy treats, like fakia, to playing with water.
But there is so much more to the Ashura Festival in Morocco than just drums and toys! Ashura is a perfect example of the Judaeo-Islamic tradition in Morocco, deeply rooted in values of tolerance and coexistence.
Food in Morocco is steeped in tradition and culture. Few people outside of cities have clocks in Morocco, instead scheduling their days around the five calls to prayer and the daily meals that punctuate life. From mint tea to tajine, couscous to cookies here are a few basic guidelines that will give you some idea of what to expect.
The Jemaa el-Fnaa (also often: “Djema el-Fna” or “Jamma el-Fnaa”), is the historic main square of Marrakesh. It is a free and veritable outdoor theater that has existed for a thousand or more years. Any tour to Morocco would somehow be incomplete unless you spent an evening strolling through this incredible landmark to experience for yourself. (more…)
Le Maison de la Photographie (often the “Photography Museum” or “House of Photography” in English) is one of Morocco’s richest photography museums. Le Maison de la Photographie is tucked away deep in the old Marrakesh medina. You will have to make your way through the popular souks and walk through some twisting back alleys to find the beautiful riad where the museum is located. But even if you get lost on your way, the museum is well worth the hunt! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the heart of the Red City you will find a collection of photographs worth thousands upon thousands of words. (more…)
For over a thousand years, Marrakesh has been many things. A hub for trade. A cultural melting pot. A powerful world capital. A tourist mecca. For all of these reasons, and many more, make the entire old medina of Marrakesh a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (more…)
You can’t miss the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, Morocco. It looms large over the vast expanse of the Jemma el-Fnaa, the famed public square. From afar, this is the beacon leading you to the Red City.
Of all the gardens the world over, the Majorelle Garden (Le Jardin Majorelle) in Marrakesh is one of the most exquisite. Located outside of the historic old medina, this veritable paradise blends Art Deco charm with a modern take on the traditional Islamic garden. If you were going to visit one garden in Morocco, the Majorelle Garden would be the one.
There are many good reasons for the inquisitive traveler to visit Morocco. The High Atlas Mountains and their hiking trails. The old cities of Fez and Marrakesh with the largest traditional markets in all of Africa. And of course the impressive Roman ruins dotted throughout the country. Yes, you read that right. Roman ruins! In Morocco! The Roman ruins of Volubilis, Morocco, the finest of all the Roman ruins to be found in the country, are at once important for their Roman connections to the region, but for so many more reasons than that. (more…)
I always get a little nervous when someone asks me to recommend a beach when they are visiting Asilah, just a short thirty minute drive from the Mediterranean digs of the city of Tangier. While there are kilometers of beautiful unspoiled coastline, the more popular (and thus populated) beaches are generally a bit of a disappointment. (more…)
On the surface, Casablanca has a lot going for it. It has a great name embued with a certain amount of romance, year-round warm weather, long strips of sandy beaches, some of the best cuisine in the country, and lots of modern conveniences. The question remains: with so much going for it, why Casablanca so disappointing for travelers? (more…)
As a leading player in the “green” travel industry, since our inception in 2007, the team at Journey Beyond Travel has been encouraging and promoting sustainable tourism in Morocco. At the outset of the 20th century, the continuous growth of tourism in Morocco began to take its toll on the country’s environment as well as the indigenous people. But unlike other nations, where tourism growth significantly damaged the environment, society and culture, Morocco, on the whole, quickly sought to take action to prevent too much harm from happening. (more…)
It’s a common refrain heard around the world: “It’s not easy being green.” In bright contrast to the Kermit dirge bemoaning the color green, the hillside town of Ouazzane, Morocco celebrates green. Greens of every tone are splashed across the medina walls and reflected in the fields and olive groves that surround the town. So, if you find yourself in this hillside medina on the edge of the Rif Mountains, the fact remains: It’s easy being green! Consider a road trip to Ouazzane! (more…)
I challenge any traveler to return from their holiday in Morocco without at least one piece of Fez pottery. It is impossible not to be drawn to the graphic lines and colorful arabesques. The careful craftsmanship of this pottery and its decoration is happily on display — seemingly on every corner. (more…)